Fractured Lives Struggling Everyday
Alan himself had been trapped in the poverty cycle all his life.
The everyday stress and lived insecurities from a young age made it different for them to focus on seemingly simple tasks that the rest of us take for granted, such as budgeting.
Given Mani’s educational qualifications, the jobs available to her typically require her to work weekends or after childcare operating hours. When many working mothers have the support of grandparents, domestic workers or family friends to care for their children, Mani does not have that luxury.
Children from poor families are more likely to experience developmental delays and learning difficulties compared to their peers. They are also more likely to experience anxiety, depression and difficulties with impulse control.
Plenty of research point to the impact of the toxic stress of poverty on children’s brain development, which sometimes continues into adulthood.
When these children grow up, they are more likely to experience similar psychological problems, including persistent negative thinking. These problems are not easily reversed by budgeting exercises or financial management workshops.
Employment assistance programmes may help with money and give them the confidence to secure a job, but will not eradicate this scourge of poverty.
When we understand the psychological impact of poverty and the effects on a person’s mental and emotional well-being, we may realise that six months isn’t enough to help someone move out of poverty.
We may also realise that behavourial strategies focusing on changing individual behaviour should only be applied after we address some of these adults’ more pressing and fundamental mental health issues and early childhood trauma.